Ocean Vuong wins £25,000 TS Eliot prize
A poet who was born in Saigon, spent a year in a refugee camp as a baby and migrated to America when he was two years old, where he was raised by his mother, grandmother and aunt, has won the £25,000 TS Eliot poetry prize.
Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds also won best first collection at the Forward prizes last year. He is only the second debut poet to win the TS Eliot prize, two years after Sarah Howe became the first, winning for Loop of Jade in 2016.
The chair of judges, WN Herbert, called Vuong’s collection “a compellingly assured debut, the definitive arrival of a significant voice”. He added: “There is an incredible power in the story of this collection. There is a mystery at the heart of the book about generational karma, this migrant figure coming to terms with his relationship with his past, his relationship with his father and his relationship with his sexuality. All of that is borne out in some quite extraordinary imagery. The view of the world from this book is quite stunning.”